Tokyo Olympics: Reaching the start line was a miracle – Johnson-Thompson explains injury fightback

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Katarina Johnson-Thompson explained how it was a "miracle" for her to even reach the starting line in the heptathlon after her Tokyo dream was ended by a calf injury.

World champion Johnson-Thompson was well in medal contention in the 200m event of the women's heptathlon, yet ultimately ended up trudging over the line in tears.

The 28-year-old, who ruptured her Achilles tendon in December, pulled up with a calf problem. However, she refused to get in the wheelchair that was rolled out to the track, and instead got over the line on her own.

On Thursday, Johnson-Thompson revealed the arduous journey she has gone through to ensure she could participate in Tokyo.

"I don't know where to begin in trying to explain how I feel. Only a handful of people understand what I've been through," she wrote in a statement posted to her official Twitter account.

"Even a smaller amount understand the mental and physical challenges I've faced trying to make it back in time through a pandemic after my Achilles ruptured the back end of December. I started the year in a wheelchair and I was not willing to end my Olympic campaign the same way.

"To make it to the line was a miracle. To not only do that, but to be on my way to putting a decent score together, is heart-breaking. I truly believed I was capable of winning a medal despite having up to half a year of missed training."

Johnson-Thompson's Olympic spirit was on show for all to see and the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion is proud of her efforts, though she conceded this is a blow that may take her some time to come back from. 

"More than ever, I am proud that I showed up, put myself out there and tried," she continued.

"It would have been very easy to shy away and pull out, to say I wasn't ready and blame the injury but I'm not that type of athlete or person.

"I am a fighter, I'm gritty and I find it extremely hard to give up. I can rest easy knowing I applied myself every single day and pushed until I couldn't push anymore.

"I've sacrificed so much, moving my entire life to France five years ago away from my family and friends.

"I've lost heart knowing that the work my team and I have done for the last eight months was for this outcome and I hate that my story has played out in more heartbreak. I've been knocked so many times and got back up, but it will take a lot of time for me to process this reality."

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